BY ADEYEMI AKANJI, BAUCHI – The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Gombe State Operational Office has said in as much as it is trying everything humanly possible to respond to emergency situations, it is difficult for it to get to the scenes of emergency within the 20 minutes required for it to do so.

NEMA Head of Operations, Gombe Operations Office, Simon Katu, who stated this at one-day training for media practitioners in Bauchi on disaster management and rescue operations attributed the situation to lack of human and capital resources limiting its coverage efforts across the country.

Katu said that response to disaster management and rescue operation the world over is expected to be within 5 minutes, adding however that it is difficult to do that in Nigeria due to a lot of limitations and barriers.

He explained that disaster management and rescue operations start from the immediate community members before they may be referred to emergency management agency when it is beyond their capacity to manage the situation.

In his paper presentation on disaster management, preparedness and reporting, the NEMA Head of Operations said that, “in America, the response time is 5 minutes while Nigeria is targeting 20 minutes but it is not even possible to do so.

“Doing this, it means we are supposed to be in every local government area of the country. We don’t have the strength, we can’t be at the disaster scenes within that time.

“In Gombe Operational Office, we cover two states of Bauchi and Gombe with 31 Local Government Areas. We have very few staff. All thanks to SEMA in these states, they are in all the LGAs helping out as well as the LCEM”.

The stakeholders training was organized in partnership with the Bauchi State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) with the aim of enhancing disaster management and effective communication by media practitioners.

In his goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary of the Bauchi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Shehu Habu Ningi stressed the importance of capacity building in disaster management and rescue operation saying that it is the main reason for the establishment of the emergency management agency by the government.

Represented by the Director, Disaster Management, Kabiru Kobi, the Permanent Secretary said that effective information management is key to effective disaster management and rescue operation.

Speaking in turn, the Bauchi State Council Chairman of the NUJ, Umar Sa’id commended NEMA for agreeing to come to Bauchi to build up the capacity of Journalists to be able to partner the Agency in the business of disaster management and rescue operation in the state.

Umar Sa’id assured NEMA that with the synergy being built, will enable journalists in the state enhance access to accurate information about a situation to minimize the hazards of disaster occurrence.

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